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Environmental crisis continued unabated, orders violated

Environmental crisis continued unabated, orders violated

The polluted Buddha Nullah



Tribune News Service

Harshraj singh

Ludhiana, December 25

Major environmental problems like the extensively polluted Buddha Dariya, air pollution from industrial sources, stubble burning and poor solid waste management, among others, have persisted without resolution this year. Following the Giaspura gas tragedy, which claimed the lives of 11 persons, including three minors, environmental activists advocated for an audit of sewer connections in industrial units, dairies, hospitals, laboratories, common effluent treatment plants, sewage treatment plants and drains. Unfortunately, no such audit took place. The National Green Tribunal (NGT) issued directives addressing various environmental concerns, but to no avail. Environmental activists organised various events, urging people to protect the environment.

Smoke emanating from an industrial unit adds to pollution in Ludhiana. File Photos

The Lows

Buddha Nullah remains polluted

The project of rejuvenating Buddha Nullah remained incomplete this year. In June, a committee from the Vidhan Sabha found major discrepancies in the functioning of Common Effluent Treatment Plants (CETPs). The committee observed that 40 MLD CETP designed for treating dyeing industry waste in the focal point area was releasing black-coloured polluted water into Buddha Nullah. Moreover, untreated sewage, dairy waste and solid waste continued to be disposed of in the Nullah.

Setback for PPCB

After the Giaspura gas tragedy, the NGT had constituted an eight-member joint committee to carry out a thorough fact-finding investigation. In October, the NGT dismissed the conclusions presented in the report prepared by the committee under the leadership of the PPCB Chairman. Consequently, the NGT formed a new joint committee for a fresh inquiry.

Air pollution troubles people

The inhabitants of several neighbourhoods along Tajpur Road, Bhamian Road, Tibba Road and Chandigarh Road were forced to face significant air pollution, allegedly caused by numerous dyeing units, throughout the year. During a visit by the Vidhan Sabha committee in November, the committee members had given directions to the Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB) to take stringent action against dyeing units whose chimneys emit ash, adversely affecting nearby areas. Besides, a large number of stubble-burning cases were reported from different parts of the district even this year.

Groundwater pollution

In December, residents of Mangat village situated along Rahon Road in Ludhiana gathered to voice their worries regarding the suspected contamination of groundwater due to the discharge of industrial effluents. They blamed the PPCB for not taking the required action. Thereafter, PPCB took steps to collect samples of the groundwater.

NGT order violated

The Chinese string was being used and sold openly in the district in a direct violation of the NGT’s orders against it’s sale. The thread is used in kite-flying and is widely known to be sharp. As a result a number of persons sustained severe injuries upon encountering the hazardous string. A 45-year-old man had received severe injuries after he came in contact with the banned string in Jagraon. He had received around 60 stitches on his forehead and some to his injured finger.

The Highs

Environmental compensation imposed

Several days after the Vidhan Sabha Committee found out that black-coloured polluted water was being released into the Buddha Nullah from CETP 40 MLD (Focal Point Module) in June, the PPCB levied an interim environmental compensation of Rs 75 lakh on the Punjab Dyers Association (PDA) Focal Point, identified as the relevant Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV), for allegedly discharging untreated effluent into the Buddha Nullah.

NGT orders against illegal axing of trees

In a petition filed by a group of environmental activists, the NGT in July, directed the Chief Secretary of Punjab to issue proper instructions to the Forest Department to formulate a policy regarding illicit axing of trees in Punjab. After many trees were axed in the city, a few residents filed a petition before NGT against the illegal axing of trees in the absence of any check by the authorities concerned.

Statue, cafeteria removed from Rakh Bagh

In compliance with the directives from the NGT concerning a complaint about commercial activities and the installation of a statue in Rakh Bagh park, the municipal corporation issued a notice to the relevant private company in November. The notice instructed the removal of the statue and cessation of commercial activities, specifically the cafeteria, in Rakh Bagh. Subsequently, both the statue and the cafeteria were removed from the park.

Committee formed to check burning of waste

After a petition was filed by four residents against the “burning of garbage” at the wholesale vegetable market at Bahadur Ke Road, the NGT had formed a joint committee comprising of PPCB, District Magistrate & Municipal Commissioner to take remedial action within two months, following due process of law.

Orders against unscientific handling of solid waste

In addressing a petition that raised concerns about the alleged mishandling of solid waste and the violation of the Solid Waste Management Rules of 2016, the NGT directed the formation of a joint committee. This committee, consisting of the Punjab State PCB, District Magistrate, and Municipal Corporation of Ludhiana, was tasked with verifying the facts and submitting a comprehensive report, detailing the actions taken in response to the matter.

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#Environment #Farm Fires #Pollution #Stubble Burning


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